Big change coming to your commute
COMMUTERS soon could be liberated from the tyranny of the timetable as city planners urge for public transport systems without stop/start schedules.
The preferred model are the systems of Northern Europe and the United States where timetables are unknown to city travellers.
The ideal is for commuters to use two types of transport - such as a bus to a train station - and be confident of not having to wait for a connection.
The interval could be 10 minutes or less, and would encourage greater use of public transport and less reliance on private cars.
Timetables are "the last thing you want to have to think about" when navigating a city, Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) chief policy officer Rolf Fenner told news.com.au today.
He said commuters who have to make connections are put off by having to wait around for services.
The PIA backs a recommendation by Infrastructure Australia in its Future Cities report, released last Friday, for greater access to public transport.
The infrastructure authority's report calls for "increased investment in timetable-free mass-passenger transport in major employment centres".
"Investment in mass transit is crucial to reducing congestion, increasing accessibility and reducing the rate of emissions growth," the report said.
"To address current congestion and ensure our cities capitalise on the benefits of population growth, governments at all levels need to co-ordinate investment to expand and upgrade our transport networks to cater for demand.
"Private vehicles will continue to play a critical role and targeted investment in roads will be necessary to move vehicles off suburban streets and deal with localised bottlenecks and congestion.
"However, in large cities, public transport will play an increasingly important role in transporting people to jobs, education and leisure activities.
"Along key trunk routes, where large numbers of people have common destinations (such as an employment centre), the most effective way to transport people is through mass transit.
"These trunk routes also need to be integrated with public transport feeder services, active transport and road users. As our cities grow, governments will need to increasingly focus on investments that increase the reach, capacity and sustainability of our public transport networks."
It said government priorities should be:
• High capacity public transport trunk routes linking key centres and transport nodes
• Regular and reliable feeder public transport routes, designed to connect to trunk routes and maximise the reach of the network
• Prioritisation of road space for high occupancy vehicles including trams and buses
• Walking and cycling as principal means of transport within centres and to transport nodes